Stoke City 0 Wolves 0

Stoke City marked the tenth anniversary of life at the Britannia Stadium with a game which will certainly not go down in the annals of history.

But Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Mick McCarthy was far from concerned as his team gave the perfect response to the Carling Cup debacle against Morecambe with a display brimming with spirit and resilience.

For the third game in succession Wolves huffed and puffed without consistently being able to break the opposition down, but they stuck to their task in the right manner as Stoke displayed all the typical defensive penchant of most teams under the tutelage of Tony Pulis.

And it was Wolves' own defence, registering their first clean sheet of the season against a team famed for a direct and physical approach, which gave McCarthy most pleasure.

"We have been letting goals in so far but I thought this was a much better performance as a defensive unit," McCarthy said of the first league goalless draw of his year-long reign.

"Stoke were well organised and strong and they always make you really defend from corners, throw-ins and free-kicks but I thought we did it brilliantly. But I never had any doubts we could handle the physical threat.

"Breeny (Gary Breen) and his mate (Darren Ward) were first class because when you walk out to face Sidibe and Fuller you know it's not going to be an easy afternoon.

"At the other end we couldn't break them down either but it wasn't for the want of trying. Maybe we just needed to be a bit more subtle or have some quality with the final pass or make the right decision at the right time.

"But I think a draw was a fair result and I have to be happy to go away from Stoke with a point."

It was a real war of attrition of a first half with plenty of hustle and bustle but very little quality.

Breen and Ward were indeed excellent at the back, cushioned also by the sturdy midfield presence of former Stokie Karl Henry whom McCarthy revealed would have replaced Darren Potter even if the Irishman had not been ruled out by a slight groin problem.

Stephen Ward fired over and Breen had a shot deflected wide for Wolves while the skipper got his own deflection on Ricardo Fuller's drive which finished up on top of the net and Liam Lawrence fired straight at Wayne Hennessey.

The second half was slightly more eventful, but even then clear-cut chances were rare with Ward and Neill Collins heading corners straight down Steve Simonsen's throat and the threatening Fuller firing wide of Hennessey's post.

The most dramatic incident arrived a minute from time when Rory Delap ran through onto Jon Parkin's pass and stumbled after rounding Hennessey.

Lesser referees might have given a penalty, but Lee Mason had seemingly spotted the slight touch Hennessey got on the ball and Delap confirmed afterwards his impersonation of a dying swan was more to do with losing his footing than any inclination he should have had a spot-kick.

The hard-earned point leaves Wolves heading into the international break with seven from their first four games, an identical record to this time last season.

For McCarthy though, it remains very much early days. "We don't really know where anyone's going to be yet, we've only had four games," he said. "I think after 12 games, then maybe we'll know a little bit more.

"It's a scrappy old league and it's just a matter of picking points up. If you get two points from every game you win it by a street and we're a point behind that at the minute."

STOKE CITY (4-4-2): Simonsen; Zakuani, Shaw-cross, Hill, Dickinson; Lawrence (Parkin, 79), Matteo, Delap, Cresswell; Sidibe (Eustace, 85), Fuller. Subs: Hoult (gk), Wilkinson, Sweeney. WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS (4-4-2): Hennessey; Foley, Breen, D Ward, N Collins; Kightly, Olofinjana, Henry, S. Ward; Eastwood (Elliott, 85), Keogh. Subs: Stack (gk), Edwards, L Collins, Bennett.

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

Bookings: Stoke - Lawrence (foul); Wolves - S Ward (foul).

Attendance: 17,135.